Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Let Them Eat [Pumpkin] Pie All Year Round

It's been a while since I wrap myself in my baby soft throw and listen to Norah Jones while I blog. This past month is all about traveling: starting with Seattle, then Aspen, and Rochester. The temperature drops about 20 degrees every city I visit. I think I've had enough hot chocolate this winter. Even Starbucks' Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate tastes less charming.

Here's a beautiful street at Seattle. I'm not sure if I can find the street again if I go back. I took a few wrong turns after I stepped out from the bus while looking for Book Larder. This tiny store carries every recipe book you can imagine. I saw Anne Willan's The Country Cooking of France, Deb Perelman's The Smittehn Kitchen Cookbook, Pierre Herme's Macarons, Bread Apprentice...

Love the foods at Pike Market

Then the journey continued....I went skiing with some friends at Aspen, CO. There was barely any snow but it was enough for us beginners to hone our skills.

On the way to Aspen from Denver

I learned how to curve!

At last I ended my journey at Rochester, NY. I didn't go out except for food. There was way too much wine, good food and endless talks.

It snowed on the first night

Good Luck restaurant makes kick ass butternut squash foccacia

Granny style high tea with cake-like scone and sweet finger sandwiches that's...not small at all

With all the traveling I really had no time to bake. Only exception is pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving orders and a few macarons here and there. This year's pie making involved a mini experiment where I tried new crust using vodka instead of water. The dough was not flaky as indicated. I got a heavy, greasy after taste. My favorite is still the all butter pie dough from The Baker's Dozen Cookbook. Here you will find the recipes I used. Who says you can't have pumpkin pie in December? I say let them eat pie all year round!

Butter Pie Dough

1 cup of flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon cold water
1 stick of chill butter, diced

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Roll butter cubes in the dry ingredients. Rub the butter against your finger tips. Cover the butter with more flour and continue rubbing until you get pea-like consistency.

Add one tablespoon of water and mix well. Try to make everything come together into a ball. If the ball is falling apart, add a little more water. Don't worry if you have a few butter crumbs leftover. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap. Use the heel of your palm to flatten the dough into a 2 inch thick disk. Let chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie Filling
3 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoon clove
2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 can pumpkin puree

To assemble the pie:
Preheat oven to 400F.

Take the pie disk from the freezer. Lightly flour the work surface and rub flour on the rolling pin. Unwrap the disk and sprinkle some flour on top. Make a quarter turn with the help of a scraper after each roll. Keep dusting the work surface with flour to prevent sticking. When the pie is larger than your pie dish, fold it in half then another half.

Place folded pie dough in the center of a 9in pie pan. Unfold the dough and flute the edges. Put in freezer for 30 minutes. Line a piece of foil paper over the chill pie shell then add pie weights or any beans you can find in the pantry. Bake the shell for 15 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 5 minute. Lower oven temperature to 350F.

Mix all the pumpkin pie filling together till you get a smooth paste. Pour into a warm pie shell. Bake pie for 35 minutes. The middle should jiggle a little when you move the pie.

Let cool at room temperature and serve with some whip cream or chai latte.

*I used William Sonoma's pie press to make the leaf decoration. You would need to make two pie doughs--one for the shell and the other for decoration. Bake any leftover pie dough into cookies. My favorite part of the pie is the buttery shell!